Do you remember your first concert? I like to tell people mine was Public Enemy, but in reality, it was another one of my favorite groups at the time – a certain late ’80s boy band I was crazy about. I won’t go into much more detail, but I remember the feeling of butterflies I got in my stomach, seeing the stage and lights, hearing the roaring fans and feeling the bass thump for the very first time.
Friday night, I got the chance to relive that moment through the eyes of one of my kids. I took my 14-year-old step-daughter, Natasha, to see the Spring Fever Tour featuring two of her favorite groups, Pierce the Veil and All Time Low at the Fillmore.
It was a sold out show and the place was packed when we arrived. It was only 7pm and there were hundreds of people watching openers, You Me at Six, who were already well into their set. The bouncers weren’t letting us into the main section at first, so we rocked out to the 5-piece British pop-punk band from the back of the venue. Luckily, this was the Fillmore, so it sounded good no matter where we stood.
We navigated our way up front for the next act which was Mayday Parade, an indie rock band from Florida. They brought a lot of energy to the stage and the audience. They are another one of Natasha’s favorites and she looked elated as she sang along with the rest of the crowd to their song, “Oh well, Oh well.” They did an awesome rendition of Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know,” which I thought was better than the original, but I’m not sure if that’s because it actually is, or because the O.G. version is soooo overplayed at this point.
About halfway into the song, there was a huge roar from the crowd and Natasha began squealing with excitement. Vic Fuentes, lead singer from Pierce the Veil had joined them onstage. It was obviously a huge surprise for the crowd.
After Mayday Parade exited, we watched with anticipation as Pierce the Veil began setting up their elaborate stage props and spinning gears painted with cartoons that looked like they came straight out of a Jhonen Vasquez comic. When the band came onstage, the at-capacity crowd lost their minds as explosions of colorful confetti rained down upon them. If their entrance and stage set-up was grandiose, it had nothing on the music itself which blasted out of the speakers with such a rich sound and texture, you could almost touch it.
Guitarist Tony Perry flailed around with his hair in his face a la Slash as he shredded his instrument. Jamie Preciado, the bassist and backing vocalist, showed off his parkour skills, jumping around and off of everything. Brothers Vic and Mike Fuentes held it down on vocals and drums, respectively, as the band rolled through hits like “Caraphernilia,” “King for a Day,” and “Bulletproof Love.” They attempted to leave the stage twice before the crowd finally allowed them to exit. The first time they came back, they performed an excellent acoustic mini-set in which Natasha thought Vic’s voice sounded more soulful, as opposed to the whinier sound she’s used to from his recordings.
I stood next to Shutter 16 photographer Matt Pock for most of their set, singing along with songs I’d heard Natasha sing a million times, off-key but adorably. She was with Matt’s girlfriend in the middle of the action, jumping up and down and screaming.
When she made her way back to me, she looked exhilarated. A Fillmore staff member who happened to know it was her first show and her favorite band brought her a guitar pick Tony had tossed into the crowd. She hyperventilated her thanks.
I went outside for a moment while she was pulling herself together, just as the guys from All Time Low were entering the building. I watched in amusement as they were swarmed by fans who began pulling off the boxing robes they were wearing for their big entrance. I followed them in, and the robes were already off by the time I was in front of the stage. If Pierce the Veil was the uber-serious emotional act on this bill, All Time Low was the bad boy comic relief. During songs they encouraged crowd surfing and girls pelted guitarist Jack Barakat with their bras, which he kept and hung on his mic stand. Between songs, lead vocalist, Alex Gaskarth joked about things like body shaving and Skrillex.
I tried to explain to Natasha the dangers of crowd surfing as a girl, but she just looked at me like I was an idiot and pointed to all the girls riding on the vast ocean of dudes’ hands like “You have to let me! It looks so fun!”
Yeah…I’m a cool stepmom, but not cool with my girl getting groped. I encouraged her just to wyle out with me instead, because All Time Low was killin’ it with their high energy brand of pop-punk. And that’s when Barakat, the guitarist and bra collector who had had been rocking some giant neon green dollar sign novelty glasses, took them off and handed them down to her. She squealed with delight, “He just gave me the glasses off his face!”
All Time Low began to slow things down a bit with “Therapy” and I could tell Natasha was about to fall out. We exited through the Fillmore Doors of No Return. As we were walking to our car, we noticed a line was already starting to form at the bands’ tour bus. Clearly their fans are indie rock’s answer to Beliebers. I could tell Natasha was dying to join them, but couldn’t muster the strength. I asked her what her favorite part of the night was, thinking she’d say the glasses, but instead she answered, “What I loved so much was that everyone was screaming and jumping and going insane because they were all in love with the music. Being in a crowd of people who share the same feelings as you about something you hold dear is pretty wonderful.”
Sounds like the Spring Fever Tour and I just helped create a future concert junkie like myself.
Remaining Tour Dates:
Wed April 24 New York, NY Best Buy Theater
Fri April 26 Lowell, MA The Tsongas Center @ UMASS
Sat April 27 West Long Branch, NJ The MAC at Monmouth University
Sun April 28 Baltimore, MD Towson Center
Tue April 30 Rochester, NY Main Street Armory
Wed May 01 Detroit, MI The Fillmore Detroit
Thu May 02 Saint Louis, MO The Pageant
Fri May 03 Chicago, IL Congress Theater
Sat May 04 Milwaukee, WI The Rave
Mon May 06 Denver, CO Ogden Theatre
Wed May 08 Tempe, AZ The Marquee
Thu May 09 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Palladium
Fri May 10 San Diego, CA SOMA
Sat May 11 San Diego, CA SOMA
Sun May 12 San Francisco, CA Warfield Theater